Surface Indications in Hot-Rolled 4130 Steel Bars
Routine magnetic-particle inspection revealed crack indications in a number of shafts produced from hot-rolled 4130 steel bar. A pronounced indication of this size is cause for rejection if the defect is not eliminated during subsequent machining. A microstructural analysis of the shaft cross section revealed that the crack was approximately 0.5 mm (0.020 in.) deep and oriented in a radial direction. Furthermore, no stringer-type nonmetallic inclusions were observed in the vicinity of the flaw, which did not display the intergranular characteristics of a quench crack. The defect did, however, contain substantial amounts of oxide, which evidently resulted from the hot-working operation. This evidence supports the conclusion that the appearance of this discontinuity, with the long axis parallel to the working direction and radial orientation with regard to depth, strongly suggests a seam produced during rolling. Use of components with surface-defect indications as small as 0.5 mm (0.02 in.) can be risky in certain circumstances. Depending on the orientation of the flaw with respect to applied loads, the nature of the applied forces (for example, cyclic), and the operating environment, such a surface flaw can become the initiating site for a fatigue crack or a corrosion-related failure.